Deforestation Crisis in the Amazon: Eight Nations Fall Short

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What is Happening in The Amazon?

Every day, 50,000 to 80,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest are lot to deforestation. Most of the reason for the destruction of the forest is for farming and ranching. Foods like bananas, palm oil, pineapple, sugar cane, tea and coffee are grown. These items are consumed daily by people around the world, who are unknowingly contributing to the destruction of it. Fortunately, there are people who are fighting for regulations that can allow the rainforest to thrive, while still being used for food sustainability.

Delegates Convene in Belém

Belém, Brazil – Delegates from the eight nations sharing the Amazon basin convened in the Brazilian city of Belém for a two-day summit aimed at addressing the escalating deforestation crisis that threatens one of the world’s most critical ecosystems. While the summit resulted in a joint declaration to combat deforestation, it fell short of achieving a unified commitment to end the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The countries represented at the summit include Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Collectively, these nations are custodians of 60% of the Amazon, the planet’s largest rainforest. The summit sought to establish a common goal of ending deforestation by 2030, recognizing the pivotal role the Amazon plays in global efforts to combat climate change.

The joint declaration, dubbed the Belém declaration, signifies an alliance to prevent the Amazon from reaching a point of no return. While it emphasizes cooperation on issues such as water management, health, sustainable development, and shared negotiating positions at global climate summits, it failed to secure a resounding commitment to zero deforestation.

The Rainforest and the Climate

Climate activists voiced their concerns, highlighting the urgency of the situation. “Temperature records are broken every day, it’s not possible that under those circumstances, the eight presidents of the Amazon nations can’t include a line in the declaration stating, in bold letters, that deforestation needs to be zero, that it won’t be tolerated any more,” Márcio Astrini of the Climate Observatory group lamented.

The Amazon is a vital component of the planet’s carbon cycle, absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and playing a crucial role in stabilizing global temperatures. However, deforestation poses a severe threat to this delicate balance. While Brazil has made progress in reducing deforestation rates since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s tenure, thousands of square kilometers are still lost each year.

Efforts to combat deforestation were welcomed by some activists. The alliance’s commitment to jointly combat illegal activities, such as mining and logging, represents a step in the right direction. Plans to coordinate air space surveillance and information exchange are hailed as promising steps to address illegal practices that have previously plagued the Amazon’s border areas.

Haug Larsen of the Rainforest Foundation Norway emphasized the importance of coordinated action, stating that if properly implemented, the agreement could be a “giant leap in the right direction.” While the summit didn’t achieve a universal commitment to zero deforestation, it marked a significant collective effort to address the challenges facing the Amazon and combat the environmental crisis.

The Belém declaration echoes the growing global awareness of the need for sustainable environmental practices. As the world grapples with the effects of climate change, the voices of these eight Amazon nations resonate on the international stage. The summit’s conclusions are viewed as a precursor to the 2025 UN Climate Change conference, underlining the region’s increasing role in shaping global climate action.

While challenges and differences remain, the summit’s declaration marks a milestone in the fight against deforestation and highlights the critical importance of preserving the Amazon’s biodiversity, ecosystems, and carbon sequestration capacity. As governments worldwide confront the pressing reality of climate change, the Amazon’s fate serves as a sobering reminder of the need for collective action and cooperation to safeguard the planet’s future.

Weather you know it or not, you are consuming food grown over deforested land. Check your labels for Palm oil and avoid it if you can. Try to buy local and in season fruits and vegetables. Consumers are not the culprit of the Amazon’s deforestation, but they can help to lessen its destruction.

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